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Car Crash Deaths on the Rise During COVID Pandemic

Car Crash Deaths on the Rise During COVID Pandemic

2020 Brought More Car-Crash Deaths Despite Decrease in Driving

Recently, the Wall Street Journal reported that the number of car crash deaths increased in 2020, despite COVID-19 forcing many workers to work remotely, resulting in fewer drivers on the roads. In 2020, Intoxalock devices prevented 202,098 people from starting their vehicles with alcohol in their system. This was an increase from 2019, showing that despite remote work, people are still drinking and driving, or attempting to.

So what exactly is happening? Why are there more deaths if there are fewer people commuting back and forth to work everyday? There are some answers. 

  • Increased speeding incidents — with the roads clearer, one might expect that they’d be safer is well. This is not the case, according to Michael J. Hanson, the director of the Office of Traffic Safety for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. Hanson told the Wall Street Journal that many drivers are using the clear roads as an excuse to speed, and at higher speeds than ever before. From April 1 to the end of the year, Hanson said that more than 1,000 drivers were ticketed for going 100 mph or more. 
  • More accidents — the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA, reported that while the first half of 2020 showed a decrease in fatal accidents, the number of fatalities grew 19 percent, up to 1.25 fatalities for every 100 million vehicle miles traveled. Basically, this means that a gravely high number of people died given how many fewer miles were being driven.
  • Severe collisions — Bob Pishue, an analyst with INRIX, studies traffic patterns. He told the WSJ that on less-congested roads, there may be fewer collisions, but they are more severe. The high rate of speed is a factor in this. He examined collisions on the busiest roads and discovered a 31% increase in fatalities during the second quarter. 
  • Alcohol and drugsNHTSA also released a special traffic safety report, conducted during the pandemic. The report showed that instances of alcohol and drug abuse, and combining alcohol with other intoxicants, was at much greater rates during COVID. 
  • Lack of safety measures — NHTSA also reported that drivers were not wearing seat belts or taking other standard precautions on the road, potentially due to being intoxicated.

It’s clear that this is an alarming trend. However, there are things drivers can do right now to make sure they stay safe on the road.

  • Buckle up — seatbelts can mean the difference between minor injuries and death, so get in the habit of buckling up. Even if the roads are empty, you still need to exercise caution. 
  • Don’t drink and drive — with others traveling at high speeds, or acting unsafely, the only thing you can control is your own behavior. If you’ve been drinking, don’t get behind the wheel.
  • Voluntary Ignition Interlock Device (IID)— many people struggle with sobriety, and it’s OK to get help. Installing an IID voluntarily can prevent you from making the decision to drive with alcohol in your system, because you will be unable to start your car. Last year, Intoxalock prevented 202,098 people from starting their car with alcohol in their system. 
  • Choose a designated driver — making sure one person stays sober can make all the difference when it comes to safety. Make sure to choose a group member willing to remain sober before you start indulging.

If you’re interested in a voluntary ignition interlock device, or need one as a result of a DUI offense, Intoxalock can help. Contact us for a quote or assistance with the process.

Category: Drunk Driving

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